Joey Chestnut ate 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes to win the 2007 Nathan’s International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest. In doing so, he also broke his own world record of 59.5 hot dogs, as well as the contest record of 53.75.
Takeru Kobayashi of Japan, who had won the past six Nathan’s contests, finished second with 63 hot dogs eaten, also surpassing the previous dog-eating records.
According to Wikipedia, this is the first year that cash prizes were awarded for the top five finishers. Chestnut, who resides in San Jose, California, took home $10,000 for his victory; Kobayashi secured $5,000 for his second place finish. Patrick Bertoletti finished 3rd, with 49 hot dogs eaten, and took home $2,500.
Chestnut led the competition from the beginning, and within the first minute, it was clear that he and Kobayashi would be the only competitors for the title. At one point, Chestnut opened up a lead of approximately five hot dogs, but Kobayashi pulled back to nearly even in the final minutes, even momentarily appearing to grab the lead at one point.
With just seconds on the clock, the contest appeared too close to call. Then, Kobayashi appeared to regurgitate some of his food right before the final buzzer – a scenario in which he would be disqualified from the competition. However, as the competition ended, both competitors had a mouthful of food – a technique known as “chipmunking.”
As judges looked a video replays and conferred to settle on the final results, it appeared that Chestnut had a lead, and there was still speculation as to whether Kobayashi would even be given an official total. A few minutes later, the official results were in; Kobayashi was credited with 63 hot dogs, but Chestnut had eaten an amazing 66 – breaking his rival’s six-year reign.
In addition to the $10,000 cash prize, Chestnut also took home the mustard-yellow belt traditionally awarded to the champion.
According to International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) rankings, Kobayashi is the top-ranked eater in the world, with Chestnut ranked second. According to the IFOCE’s record book, Chestnut also holds eating records in asparagus (8.6 pounds in 10 minutes), grilled cheese sandwiches (47 in 10 minutes), and pulled pork (9 pounds, 6 ounces in 10 minutes). Kobayashi can boast records in cow brains (17.7 pounds in 15 minutes), Krystals hamburgers (97 in just 8 minutes), and rice balls (20 pounds in 30 minutes).
The 2007 contest was the 92nd edition of the now annual event. It was first held in 1916.
“Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.” Wikipedia. URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan%27s_Hot_Dog_Eating_Contest
“Rankings.” IFOCE. URL: http://www.ifoce.com/rankings.php
“Records.” IFOCE. URL: http://www.ifoce.com/records.php